March 29, 2016
Patty Duke dies, age 69
Duke’s life was marked with both success and struggle, with the earliest years of her life marred by an alcoholic father and a violently depressive mother. From the time she was 8, Duke was raised by talent managers John and Ethel Ross. In her memoir “Call Me Anna,” Duke revealed that the Rosses left her little control over her career or life and began supplying her with alcohol and prescription medication when she was 13. (…)
uke had already won acclaim for the role onstage. She noted that had she grown faster, she might never have had the opportunity to play the role of the young Keller, who could not see, speak or hear after a childhood illness. Duke said a clause in her contract when she took the role in 1959 allowed the producers to cut her if she grew 2 inches. (…)
In addition to being an actress, Duke also was a fierce advocate for mental illness awareness, after her own diagnosis with bipolar disorder in 1982. Duke credited medication and therapy for helping her recovery; she was the first celebrity, via her 1987 autobiography, to make her struggle with bipolar disorder public.